By Indy Media
May 7, 2009
Prof. Steven Jones: What You Need to Know
Since the days of Sir Isaac Newton, Science has proceeded through the publication of peer-reviewed papers. Peer-review means a thorough reading, commentary and even challenge before publication by "peers", that is, other PhD's and professors. This paper was thoroughly peer-reviewed with several pages of tough comments that required of our team MONTHS of additional experiments and studies. It was the toughest peer-review I've ever had, including THREE papers for which I was first author in NATURE. (Please note that Prof. Harrit is first author on this paper.) We sought an established journal that would allow us a long paper (this paper is 25 pages long) with many color images and graphs. Such a scientific journal is not easy to find. Page charges are common for scientific journals these days, and are typically paid by the University of the first or second author (as is the case with this paper) or by an external grant.
A peer-reviewed journal is also called a "refereed" journal. Peer-reviewers are almost always anonymous for scientific publications like this -- that is standard in the scientific world. While authors commonly recommend potential peer-reviewers, editors choose the referees and usually pick at least one or two reviewers that the authors did NOT mention -- and that is almost certainly the case with this paper (based on commentary we received from the reviewers). In the end, all the reviewers -- who were selected by the editor(s) -- approved publication. Thus, the paper was subjected to peer review by the editor or editors, and it passed the peer-review process.
Debunkers may raise all sorts of objections on forums, such as "Oh, it's just paint" or "the aluminum is bound up in kaolin." We have answered those questions in the paper, and shown them to be nonsense, but you have to read to find the answers. I may also provide answers here and in emails, often quoting from the paper to show that the answers are already in it.
Here's what you need to know (especially if you are not a scientist): Unless an objector actually publishes his or her objection in a peer-reviewed established journal (yes that would include Bentham Scientific journals), then the objection is not considered serious in the scientific community. You should not worry about non published objections either.
So how do you, as a non-scientist, discern whether the arguments are valid or not? You should first ask, "is the objection published in an established peer-reviewed journal?" If not, you can and should say -- "I will wait to see this formally published in a refereed scientific journal. Until then, the published peer-reviewed work by Harrit et al. stands. "
BTW, there also has been no published refereed paper yet that counters either the "Fourteen Points" paper or the "Environmental Anomalies" papers we published last year.
If it is so easy to publish in Bentham Scientific journals, or if these are "vanity publications" (note: there is no factual basis for these charges) -- then why don't the objectors write up their objections and get them peer-reviewed and published?? The fact is, it is not easy, as serious objectors will find out.
Our results have passed the gauntlet of peer-review (including in this case, review at BYU consistent with the fact that there are two authors from BYU).
We say that this paper has the "imprimatur of peer-review". That is a significant breakthrough. You cannot say that of big-foot or Elvis sightings... We are now in a different world from such things, the world of the published scientific community. Can you appreciate the difference? I hope so. And this is what has our opponents so worried IMO...
Links to Peer-Reviewed Papers: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe, Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction, and Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for Energetic Materials .